eSys unveils VIA-based PC at Rs 9,990

DQW Bureau
24 Oct 2002


Delhi-based eSys Distribution Ltd had its worldwide launch of its new range

of PCs in Delhi today, which includes a PC starting at Rs 9,990. There are two

other models available, and priced respectively at Rs 11,990 and Rs 16,990, plus


The company also announced the appointment of GS Paul as the CEO of Indian

operations. Paul joins eSys from Tech Pacific where he was the Deputy GM (Sales)

looking after the northern region operations. Simultaneously, eSys has also

announced its expansion plans in India in terms of human assets and


ePC configuration

  ePC-L ePC-M ePC-H


266(withTV output)
RAM Hynix 64 MB Hynix 128

Hynix 256




HDD Seagate



Modem Aztec Aztec Aztec
FDD 1.44 1.44 1.44
KB/Mouse Yes Yes Yes
Speakers/Headphone Headphone Speakers Speakers
OS Linux Linux Linux
Price Rs.9,990* Rs.11,990* Rs.16,990*

taxes, levies and octroi extra

Branded as ePC and based on VIA C3 800     MHz processor,

the entry-level model is configured at Hynix 64 MB RAM, 20 GB Seagate hard disk,

ASUS CUSI-FX motherboard, Sony 1.44 MB floppy drive, Aztec modem, keyboard,

mouse and headphone. The same configuration with Hynix 128 MB RAM, speakers and

CD-ROM drive is pegged at Rs 2,000 extra. Other things being the same, the 256

MB RAM version comes with a 40 GB HDD and a DVD/CDRW and is priced at Rs 16,990.

All these models comes with a TV output socket, thus one can use a normal

television as a monitor for these PCs. All the models come with a one-year

warranty and a data-recovery CD and all these PCs are multimedia ready.

Interestingly, the PCs are Linux-based and come with an Office suite and a

Linux-based Net browser. Vikas Goel, MD of Singapore-based eSys Distribution Pte

Ltd, said that the Linux OS has been developed in-house by the eSys team and as

such, drivers for the peripherals will not be a problem. The customers will have

the option of going in for peripherals like say a Web-cam, or upgrades according

to his budget.

But how can PCs be this cheap? Goel pointed out that the company is

leveraging on the volume purchase proposition it has with its vendors. "It

is a matter of relationship with manufacturers globally, and a matter of pushing

volumes at the end of the day."


Can the average consumer be persuaded to use Linux, after being used to a

Microsoft environment for so long? "Yes," replied Goel,

"especially in a price-sensitive market like India. It is just a matter of

time and education. Our target customer is the common man, who always wanted to

buy a PC, but could not afford it, like the students." He agreed to the

fact that this product needs to percolate down to the smaller cities where the

majority of its target audience resides. With the e-governance initiatives

gaining momentum, educational institutes, government offices and a few

corporates might become hot prospects.

As far as the channel is concerned, eSys is following a three-pronged

strategy. First, it would like to use an existing consumer electronics

distribution network. Secondly, it will leverage on its already present

conventional channels for pushing boxes and thirdly it is also exploring

slightly unconventional means for selling PCs like telemarketing, Internet sales

etc. For this a B2C portal is also in the offing, Goel revealed, and consumers

can buy online. And of course eSys is focusing on building stronger after-sales

support mechanism. "We are ready to explore every kind of channel to sell

this product." It has tied-up with LG to distribute its ePC through the

conventional consumer electronics goods' channel.

Geol was optimistic that eSys will be able to bring down the prices further

if Pramod Mahajan, Union Minister for IT and Telecom, stands true to his

statement of waiving off the appropriate taxes for a sub-Rs 10,000 PC.


Richard Brown, Director (Marketing), VIA Technologies Inc, was very happy

about this launch. "We have been engrossed in the clock wars of GHz

technologies but no one ever pondered about the real requirements of an average

user. This is a perfect start-up PC for an average user."

Talking about the conventional PC channel, he said that margins have been

set-up higher than the conventional assembling business. eSys has also launched

kits for these PCs in the market. "I am sure an assembler will be able to

make at least four to five percent margin on this product," hoped Goel.

With an aim of positioning this product as a mass-market product, Goel is

talking of a paradigm shift in the PC buying pattern in this country. With no

players in market matching these price points, eSys is resilient about the

market size growth and is aiming to sell at least 10,000 PCs per month in the

JFM 2003 quarter.


Channel Reactions?

Ranjan Chopra, CEO, Team Computers: This is such a welcome move. In fact, we

have been using PCs like these in my office and they are perfectly functional.

They are value for money propositions. It will definitely be a mass market

product. Linux is one of the robust operating systems and one can use it at home

also at ease. In fact, these days there are indigenous softwares office suits

which have low price points and they can be used easily on Linux OS. I feel

smaller assemblers should also sell these PCs. Government per me might do some

buying but major buying will be from the educational institutes and home segment.

Manoj Gupta, Director, Fortune Marketing: We have been associated with eSys

for a long time now and this product will be a success. Especially in a price

sensitive market like India this will be a hot product to be sold. We would also

like to explore possibilities of selling this product if it picks up well


Gurjeet Singh, Head (Marketing), OA Compserve: Technically VIA is a good

product and such a configuration is surely possible. As a matter of fact various

assemblers have been offering these kinds of configurations but just that they

have not been able to make so much of noise about it. This can be one of the

best offerings in the PC market for the basic education segment. Home segment

will also get a leverage from this PC. It might not be able to pick up any share

in the conventional corporate or government but surely SOHO and home segment

will be big. I am very optimistic about this PC increasing the total market size

in India.

Saket Kapoor, MD, Computer Vision: This kind of product will be nothing but a

fad and it cannot survive. I feel that PC is an integrated product, which

requires personal support, which I doubt if eSys will be able to give. This

surely is a high-risk proposition for any system assembler or integrator. Linux

has not been accepted in the home segment. In fact, very few people would have

been able to work in a Linux operated environment.